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  • iheartsubtitles 12:59 pm on August 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Movies, , , , ,   

    Q&A with Films14 Director Shaun Sadlier 

    A fully subtitled from launch, with the aim to also eventually provided full BSL signed movies from a Video On Demand service.  Imagine that? Well one business entrepreneur Shaun Sadlier is planning to do just that through Films14.  Read the Q&A from Shaun below and watch the video for more information:

    Q:  Your service is called Films14.  Is there a story behind the name?
    A: I was looking for a name which it is easy to remember and maximum is 7 letters or numbers, films is what we provide and 14 references 2014 when we want to launch.

    Q: You are based in the UK but the internet is global. Can anyone sign up to Films14 or is it UK residents only?
    A: That’s correct, we are global brand but we start out in UK and if it goes well then we will expand across the world. Anyone can sign up but it is for UK residents only. If I found anyone who aren’t UK residents then they have to wait for us to come over.

    Q: Can you reveal what content there will be available to watch?
    A: We’ve got two types of content, Subscription and On Demands. There will be 50+ movies / TV shows in the first month and additional 50 or more on every month for Subscription. There will be 60+ blockbusters movies every year for On Demands.

    Q: The subscription content – does that cost extra to access it in addition to the monthly fee? Or does the monthly fee give you access to the subscription content?
    A: No, it will not cost extra. It is a monthly fee to access subscription and discount blockbuster movie from On Demand.

    Q: Are there any benefits to signing up in advance of the Films14 launch?
    A: Yes, there is a benefit.

    1. £4.99 for first month and then £6.99 monthly
    2. Access to subscription movie’s and TV series (50+ Movie’s & TV Series addition every month)
    3. Discount Blockbusters movie’s On Demands (60+ New movie’s in a year)
    4. Can cancel membership after first month
    5. Pay nothing until launch
    6. 100% Subtitles and In-vision signer for sign language (On and Off feature!) – World first!
    7. Mystery Gift on the Launch day for Pre-Launch membership only

    About the Mystery Gift.
    1. If we get over 20,000 UK residents sign up before launch then Pre-Launch membership will get £4.99 monthly for life.
    2. If we get over 50,000 UK residents sign up then before launch Pre-Launch membership will get £3.99 monthly for life.
    3. If we get over 150,000 UK residents sign up then before launch Pre-Launch membership will get £2.99 monthly for life.

    Q: How is this service funded?
    A: This service will be funded by crowdfunding and then membership sign up on the first month of launch. Our Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and Enterprise Investment Scheme are currently pending which take up 4 to 6 weeks.

    Q: How will the subtitles be provided, are you creating them?
    A: Our content distributors provides movies with subtitles included. I won’t accept any movies or TV show without subtitles available because in my view, it is pieces of junk.

    Q: How will the BSL be provided, are you creating them?
    A: I have a studio which I can use and hire professional BSL signer’s but it will take lots of time to edit them therefore I am looking around for a professional company that can offer a good deal.

    Q: Will all content released on the website have subtitles and BSL immediately?
    A:  All will have subtitles immediately and BSL will start out with a few titles because it is very expensive and it is new technology. Eventually, all movies will have Sign Language included. That’s our mission.

    Q: What are the challenges you are facing in getting this service up and running?
    A: The most challenging is to get as many subscriber’s as possible to cover the costs and in-vision signer features. I am very confident it will go OK.

    Q: Will you be able to watch the content on all internet enabled devices or desktop and laptops only?
    A: It will work on Playstation 3, Wii, iPad and any devices with an internet connection and screen because we are going to use HTML5 video player.

    Q: What can readers do to help get the service up and running?
    A: Readers can help us to find weakness in our services and sign up please.

    Q: What is your favourite subtitled content?
    A: 100% Subtitles with options of size, colour and background colour to suit their need.   I don’t have a favourite subtitled movie because I love so many movie’s so it is very difficult to choose. But I mostly watch Sci-fi, Horror, Thriller, Adventure and Drama. Sometime Comedy.

    Q: What is your favourite BSL content?
    A: In-vision signer with on and off feature. We are going to start with British Sign Language and when we expand to USA we will put in America Sign Language. American’s are excited and want us to come over, even Australia as well!  I don’t have a favourite British Sign Language movie because I haven’t seen one yet considering we don’t get 24/7 access to entertainment and currently it is very limited access.  When I heard about a movie with in-vision signer on TV, they normally show these at 2am in the morning which it is frustrating for us. And, some BSL TV series are shown on PC or Laptop which is limited devices. Therefore, our company is 24/7 access, you can watch anytime, anywhere and any devices with internet connection and screen. It will also be the fastest way to watch movies.

    Q: Why do you think current content providers are so slow at providing access?
    A: They don’t think how important about our access need because they don’t see how we feel after all these years. I feel so frustrated to have limited access to entertainment and it is getting worse. So, here I am.

    Q: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about Films14?
    A: Films14 is Deaf-led company and we know what we need to access the enjoyment of movies and TV Series. Also, we are world first to have sign language with on and off features. Just like subtitles.

    All the best!

    Shaun Sadlier

    Shaun has already made a BSL signed and subtitled video explaining the service which you can watch on the Films14 website or watch it below:

  • iheartsubtitles 10:33 am on April 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Movies, ,   

    History of subtitling and cinema in the UK 


The film industry is forever devising new ways to capitalise on technological advancements to attract audiences.

    But back in the 1920s, and on the verge of going bust, Sam Warner, co-founder (with brothers Harry, Albert and Jack) of small studio Warner Bros. introduced some fancy tech that, with the help of jazz singer Al Jolson, unintentionally alienated many film fans for the next 75 years.

Before the Movietone sound-on-film system became the industry standard, the short-lived Vitaphone sound-on-disc system was the most hi-tech audio product available. Originally intended to cut costs of live musicians, the 1.0 non-surround system was responsible for the innovative synchronized mix of Al Jolson’s singing, dialogue and music for Warner Bros’ The Jazz Singer (1927).

Although it contained few spoken words, and played silently in many cinemas that had yet to be equipped for sound, The Jazz Singer launched the ‘talkies’ revolution, taking $3m box-office (spectacular in those days), putting the US touring stage production of ‘The Jazz Singer’ out of business, and confirming its studio as a major player in Hollywood.

    (Sadly, just before the premiere, Sam Warner died of complications brought on by a sinus infection. He was 40).

    Jolson’s next WB musical, 1928’s ‘The Singing Fool’, was an even bigger success (almost $6m) and held the box office attendance record for 10 years (eventually broken by Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). Jolson become America’s most famous and highest-paid entertainer of the time.

    So how exactly was the cinema experience ruined for many film fans?

The end of the ’20s signalled the end of the silent era as sound and dialogue in movies became standard practice. With ‘talkies’, the essential plot-following device – the caption card – was deemed no longer necessary.

    For people with hearing loss, a cinema visit was suddenly, if unintentionally, no longer enjoyable or accessible. By and large, they stopped going. For 75 years. A major step backwards for equality, inclusion and community integration.

    Which is all the more ironic as Thomas Edison, ‘man of a thousand patents’ and pioneer-creator of the first copyrighted film, was almost completely deaf from an early age. Without captions he wouldn’t have been able to follow many of the new ‘talkies’.

    I often wonder what Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, the two inventors responsible for introducing many of the film, sound and light technologies we take for granted today, would have thought of this ‘talkies’ development, as they chatted over their latest inventions with Étienne-Jules Marey, who was a major influence on all pioneers of cinema, at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

    Of course they could never have had such a discussion – Marey died 25 years before ‘The Jazz Singer’, Bell died 5 years before, and Edison 5 years after. (And, er, the exhibition was held half a century before the film, in 1876…)

    But let’s imagine they were all having a chat over a cappuccino, at the same exhibition, held just AFTER the films release. I would expect that they would have been very disappointed at the demise of caption cards.

    A few decades before the release of ‘The Jazz Singer’, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, created the Photophone – a device that enabled sound to be transmitted on a beam of light (the principle upon which today’s laser and fiber optic communication systems are founded).

    Étienne-Jules Marey had combined a camera and a Gatling gun to create a mutant photographic machine-gun/steadicam device, capable of shooting 60fps (more than a century before James Cameron and Peter Jackson attempted HFR).

    Edison came up with the Kinetophone, the first attempt in history to record sound and moving image in synchronization.

    All three pioneers were well aware of the importance of captions – words on screen (or a piece of cardboard).

    Edison – almost completely deaf from an early age – most likely wouldn’t have liked the film. He hated Jazz, preferring simple melodies and basic harmonies, very possibly due to his high-frequency hearing loss.

    Bell had founded and helped run a school for deaf children with his wife, who was also deaf. Caption cards were used to teach the deaf children reading and literacy skills.

    And Marey was a foreigner! (It’s well known that captions/subtitles are beneficial to students studying English as a Second Language).

    Photo of people at the cinema

    Your Local Cinema – lists screening of subtitled and audio described cinema across the UK

    Fast forward to the end of the century, and reality, when caption cards were re-introduced to UK cinemas in the form of on-screen subtitles. Steven Spielberg, an early investor in the sound company, Digital Theater Systems (DTS), championed its new cine audio format – a digital sound-on-disc system – and encouraged cinemas to install it ahead of his highly anticipated new release, Jurassic Park (1993). A decade later, DTS updated its (by now popular) system to include, alongside music and dialogue tracks, multi-language subtitles and a caption track, enabling cinemas to project synchronised captions directly on to cinema screens.

Dolby launched a similar system soon afterwards. Not long after that – probably feeling bad about the Al Jolson episode – cinemas across the UK collaborated with the UK Film Council to install this new ‘access’ technology.

    After 75 years, people with hearing loss could once again enjoy, rather than endure, the cinema experience. Hurrah!

    And, for the first time in the UK, people with sight loss could also enjoy it as an audio description (AD) track – a recorded narration – could also be delivered to wireless headphones. Double hurrah!

    (But sadly, for people with loss of smell, things were not so good. ‘Smell-O-Vision’, introduced in the 1960s, just never caught on).

    As before, Warner Bros. was at the forefront of this quiet revolution in cinema.

The first film to utilise the new digital caption/subtitle/AD system was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001). (Steven Spielberg, having played his part in re-introducing captions to cinema audiences, had declined an offer to direct – he’d done enough).

    Today, another decade later, UK film distributors routinely ensure the provision of caption/subtitle/AD tracks for most popular titles. More than 1,000 have been produced to date.

    Almost every UK cinema is now accessible in that all d-cinema systems have built-in ‘access’ facilities and can broadcast caption/subtitle/AD tracks. Every week hundreds of cinemas present a total of around 1,000 shows with on-screen captions. Thousands more shows are screened with audio description, received via personal headphones.

But as the number of shows and the audience have grown – by around 20% year-on-year – the current UK caption format has inevitably become problematic. Since captions in UK cinemas are on-screen, inconvenient and costly separate shows are necessary, segregating people and restricting the choice of films and showtimes that a cinema can provide. A limited audience, combined with limited opportunities to attend, ultimately results in limited box-office returns.

For some time, the industry has wrestled with the conundrum of how to provide an economically viable service to people with hearing loss – how to get a good balance between what the public wants and what it’s possible reasonably to provide.

Digital cinema brings with it digital participation – inclusion – which is just as important as digital infrastructures and digital content.

    For the UK film industry, a commitment to diversity and inclusion is not just a social and legal responsibility. It aims to ensure that cinema is accessible to all, regardless of age or ability, by understanding and catering for audiences with physical or sensory impairments, and their diverse technological needs.

    The UK film industry is currently investigating recently-developed solutions that could improve the cinema experience further for people with hearing loss. For example, ‘personal’ inclusive caption/subtitle solutions are now available from Sony, Doremi and others that, instead of projecting captions on to the cinema screen, display them on wearable glasses or small, seat-mounted displays. So, any ‘regular’ cinema show could also be a captioned show. These solutions are already being rolled out in the US and Australia.

    It’s hoped that for audience members with hearing loss, as well as cinema exhibitors and film distributors, the convenience of a personal solution, and the vastly increased choice it can offer, will be more favourable than separate, inconvenient, costly on-screen captioned shows.

    It is hoped that within the next few years, audiences with hearing or sight loss will be able to enjoy the big-screen experience as never before.

    As Al Jolson (who really should be forgiven by now) famously said: “I tell yer, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet!”

    With thanks to Your Local Cinema for this article. Posted with permission.

    Stay tuned for another follow-up post very shortly to this on subtitling technology for the cinema.

    • Mikel Recondo 2:18 pm on April 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      In Spain, there’s a tradition of dubbing all the foreign films into Spanish. It dates back to the dictatorship of Franco, that in 1940 stablished that all movies should be dubbed into Spanish.

      Then the dictatorship ended and some cinemas chose not to dub the movies and run them in their original languages with subtitles. Nowadays, these are the only cinemas that I know of that offer any kind of accessibility services.


    • markbutterworth 7:58 pm on June 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Mark Butterworth learning journey BSL level 3 and commented:
      History of Subtitles


  • iheartsubtitles 8:37 pm on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Movies, ,   

    Cinema, smart phones and subtitles/closed captions 

    As lucky as I am to be living in an area where subtitled cinema screenings are available sometimes I struggle to make them because the times available don’t match my lifestyle (I can’t go to the cinema at 2pm on a weekday as much as I’d like to, I have to work during those hours for example).  The obvious answer is to wait until the movie comes out on DVD and unless your really unlucky, thankfully most DVDs will provided closed captioning or subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. But some movies are meant to be seen on the big screen right? And what if you have a DVD that does not have closed captions or subtitles available? If you have a smart phone there is an option that whilst I don’t think is anywhere near as good as going to a subtitled screening or watching a subtitled DVD, it does at least offer an alternative that is better than struggling with no help at all.

    For the iPhone there is an app available simply called subtitles. Once you’ve downloaded the app you can search for the film you want subtitles for. The app then searches the database from opensubtitles.org to see if they are available. Here is its first limitation, the film you want might not be available (just today I searched for The Kings Speech – none available). However there is a large database, and I was able to find subtitles for two movies – The Other Guys, and The American which I downloaded and used to go to a non-subtitled screenings at my local cinema last year. Once you have downloaded the subtitles you can then view them on your iPhone screen. The app gives you control and it is up to you to sync the subtitles with film audio and press play as soon as the movie starts. Here in is another limitation as it can be tricky to get it right but to be fair it took me less than a minute to get the timing right at the beginning of the film (for someone with a more severe hearing loss I wonder how easy that might be?) I did have to keep redoing this when the subtitles occasionally would lose sync again. Whether this is a technical limitation of the app or an error in the subtitling file itself I don’t know. I suspect the latter. The most impressive thing about the app for me is the text itself is easy to read and you can also control how bright or dim the text appears for the comfort of your own reading and the lighting within the cinema itself. You can make your screen very dim so not to annoy other people watching the movie with bright light glaring from your phone and the text still remains easy to read and follow. This is well thought out and considered. For another detailed user review of this app complete with screen grabs etc visit Able Bodied.

    The subtitles app is free to download and despite some of the limitations that I’ve mentioned, ultimately I think its fantastic that it has been developed and created and I know now that I can always try it and search for subtitles to use at no extra cost to me. This is a great example of new technology providing greater access with little cost.

    Sticking with the iPhone for a moment, even at the cinema and on your DVD, any trailers for upcoming releases are not subtitled or captioned.  Make sure you download the CaptionFish Trailers app which allows you to watch movie trailers complete with the subtitles/captions.  This too is free to download. Brilliant 🙂 Note: Since the company is US based, the trailers provided will predominantly be the US trailers and not the international versions which are sometimes different.

    For those without an iPhone, an alternative to the iPhone subtitles app reviewed above comes from David King (@oodavid on twitter) who voluntary developed a free application that should work on most modern phones and allow it to display subtitles – check out oosubtitles! That’s clever right? And if anyone else knows of any more alternatives please comment and let me know.

    • amy 6:38 pm on January 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      seriously cool. thanks for sharing. we don’t have cc for movies in our area at all. my son is an implant user but really needs captions at the movies. I am not sure he’d really be able to follow the captions on the phone and the movie as well- and there is the detail that i don’t have an iphone LOL. but this is pretty NEATO!


    • jane 12:46 am on January 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for this info. My mother who is deaf is thrilled to know about this. She recently purchased an iphone to be able to communicate through text and facetime (she is an amazing lip reader). To be able to visit a new release movie is an exciting prospect.


    • Bill 3:50 pm on March 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      There is an app for Droid called “SubtitlePlayer” that sounds the same


    • Bill 4:00 pm on March 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

  • iheartsubtitles 1:53 pm on January 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Movies   

    Funny Bollywood subtitles (via www.Sozialgeschnatter.de) 

    Bollywood is not a genre I am particularly familiar with but it seems it too has its bizarre and funny moments when it comes to subtitles. Check out the blog post below for some examples and screen caps.

    “When I asked you to blow, why do you suck?” Bollywood subtitles from hell – posted on the page “Paagal Subtitle”: This fine site is a side project of the Beth Loves Hollwood blog (Twitter: bethlovesbolly). And there’s a lot more from where this came from: “Shut up.. I’m trying to think.. you know how hard it is..” [caption id=”attachment_2769″ align=”aligncenter” width= … Read More

    via http://www.Sozialgeschnatter.de

  • iheartsubtitles 1:19 am on January 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Movies,   

    Why cinema should be captioned and more fun subtitles 

    Apologies for the lack of embedded video clips in this post – I can’t get all of them to work so make sure you click the links…

    First up, a (humourous) example of why everyone can benefit from captions at the cinema.

    I’ve yet to watch the Coen Brother’s latest movie True Grit, but unless I can find a screening here in the UK with subtitles, I don’t think I’ll be going if this tongue in cheek translation is anything to go by. Jeff Bridges what on earth are you saying?!

    Thankfully CaptionFish have an accurate translation of the True Grit trailer online – watch it here.

    And from movies, to music… just for fun… from a performance last year on the UK X Factor TV series. Here is a performance from Diane Vickers. But what are those lyrics your singing Diane?! Here’s one translation:

    And a full translation attempt – embedding is disabled so click to watch.

    • codeman38 5:49 am on January 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Let me just say, as someone from the southern US who knows people with accents that thick, that I have no clue as to half of what Cogburn’s saying in that clip either. -_-;;


  • iheartsubtitles 10:32 pm on December 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Movies, ,   

    Cinema Captioning in the USA 

    I am currently lucky enough that my hearing loss does not mean I cannot enjoy a trip to the cinema (and I go a lot) without subtitles/captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing but given a choice I would absolutely prefer it. Being a fan of writer Aaron Sorkin and his often wordy plays and screenplays I knew I wouldn’t want to miss a word of The Social Network and so I attended a subtitled screening. In the screening I attended the subtitles were perfect quality and in sync. I was grateful that a subtitled screening was available. True access to the cinema. There is some way to go though – in some UK locations the choice of times to attend subtitled screenings is not always ideal (for example weekdays during the day is difficult to attend if you work during those hours). There are multiple reasons for that and if anyone finds their local cinema is only showing screenings at a time that you cannot attend contact them and let them know otherwise this will likely not change. But access *is* being provided and it is a fantastic start. I only wish subtitled cinema screenings had been available to me as a child. I might well have enjoyed Disney animation far more than I did – lip-reading a cartoon is kind of difficult!

    Subtitles/captions and cinema is something that has recently made headlines over in the USA involving a lawsuit against a cinema chain that is not providing captioned movies. On November 30th 2010 the following statement was released:

    The Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) and two additional plaintiffs, ALDA members Linda Drattell and Rick Rutherford, filed a lawsuit today against Cinemark USA, Inc. in California’s Alameda Superior Court for Cinemark’s failure to provide accessibility through captioned movies. The suit alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and Disabled Persons Act.
    ALDA is being represented by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a non-profit disability rights firm headquartered in Berkeley, California that specializes in high-impact cases on behalf of people with disabilities.

    This past summer, the nation celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, yet I still can’t see movies at my local Cinemark theater with my family and friends,” said Linda Drattell, ALDA’s President. “It’s extremely frustrating for me and for others who lost their hearing and depend primarily on visual information.”
    “We just want the opportunity to go to the movies with our friends and family like everybody else,” explained Rick Rutherford who lives in El Cerrito. “By failing to screen captioned films, movie theaters like Cinemark are denying me an experience I thoroughly enjoyed before the onset of hearing loss.”
    “The theaters’ unwillingness to screen captioned films is short-sighted, particularly as the hearing loss community continues to grow,” noted Kevin Knestrick, an attorney representing the Plaintiffs. “The technology is readily available, and financially it is a drop in the bucket for theater chains like Cinemark to provide this service for men, women, and children with hearing loss.”
    According to the National Association of Theater Owners, Cinemark USA, Inc. is the nation’s third largest chain in the U.S. and Canada with 3,825 screens at 293 sites as of June 24, 2010. In 2009 movie theaters in the U.S. earned $10.6 billion at the box office.
    A ruling this year in the Ninth Circuit stated that closed captioning technology is a valid “auxiliary aid” mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, yet Cinemark has not taken steps to provide caption accessibility to its patrons with hearing loss.
    Movies in theaters can be made accessible to deaf and hard of hearing individuals through open, closed or individual display captions.
    Open captions are ones that cannot be turned off, such as subtitles on foreign films.
    Closed captions are those which, as on television, can be turned on or off like the subtitles on television, and are now available through caption projection systems and new digital movies which require no special equipment or cost. More and more movie theaters are making the conversion to digital movie technology.
    Individual captions are viewed only by people who have special equipment such as Rear Window Captioning or special glasses.


    To my knowledge cinema subtitling in the UK is not done through Rear Window Captioning (RWC) in any cinema and different digital equipment is used to display what is described above as open captions. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in use. Here’s a very detailed description:

    What is the Rear Window Captioning system?

    The patented Rear Window system is a technology that makes it possible for exhibitors to provide closed captions for those who need or desire them without displaying the captions to the entire audience and without the need for special prints or separate screenings. Developed in the early 1990s with the assistance of grants from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the system was first deployed at the National Air & Space Museum’s IMAX® theater in December of 1994.

    How does it work?
    The Rear Window Captioning system displays reversed captions on a light-emitting diode (LED) text display, which is mounted in the rear of a theater. Patrons use transparent acrylic panels attached to their seats (either with a flowerpot-shaped base designed to fit into a drink holder on most theater seats or with a clamp that attaches to the armrest) or on freestanding floor stands (like a microphone stand). The acrylic panels reflect the captions so that they appear superimposed on or beneath the movie screen. The reflective panels are portable and adjustable, enabling the user to sit anywhere in the theater and to either superimpose the captions over the film image or position the captions above or below the movie screen, depending on preference.

    How do Rear Window captions differ from open captions?

    Open captions are similar to subtitles. They are “burned” onto the film and are visible to everyone in the theater. To provide open captions, it is necessary for studios to create, and for exhibitors to obtain, a special print of the film. Open-captioned films are generally presented at special screenings.
    The Rear Window system is a way of providing closed captions. The captions are not on the film itself, so there is no need for a special print. The captions are on a floppy disk or CD that plays in synchronization with the film and can be made visible — via a reflector — to only those patrons who choose to see them. The captions are available during each regularly scheduled presentation for as long as the film plays in the equipped theater (not all films are presently closed-captioned).

    How are the captions synchronized to the film?

    The synchronization process differs depending on whether the system is being used in a conventional movie theater or specialty theater (e.g., IMAX® or other large-format theaters or theme parks’ theatrical attractions). In conventional movie theaters, captions are transmitted to the LED panel by the Digital Theater Systems (DTS) digital audio system, which provides multi-channel digital audio on CD-ROMs. The caption data resides on an additional CD-ROM that plays in synchronization with the digital audio disks in a DTS player (model DTS 6D, with additional models soon to be available). A “reader head” (a sensing device) attached to the film projector reads a timecode track printed on the film and signals the DTS player to play the audio and captions in synchronization with the film. In turn, the DTS player sends the captions to the LED display. In specialty theaters, caption data is fed to the LED panel by a computer with special software that synchronizes the caption files to the film.

    What specialized equipment is needed to provide Rear Window captions?

    In order to provide Rear Window captions, the theater must purchase and mount — in the rear of the theater — a light-emitting diode (LED) text panel or “datawall,” which displays reverse captions. This component must be 32 characters wide and 3 rows tall. The characters, or letters, that make up each row are 3.2 inches or 4.1 inches tall depending on the size of the auditorium and the distance people will be sitting from the datawall. A theater also must purchase either portable seat-mounted or freestanding reflectors on which patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can read the reverse text from the LED panel. The reflector component consists of a 3/16-inch thick transparent or semi-transparent acrylic panel, which is approximately 4 inches tall by 12 inches wide, attached to a flexible, 12 to 18-inch-long gooseneck arm.

    How much does it cost a theater to install Rear Window?

    The cost of installing the Rear Window Captioning system varies from theater to theater based on factors such as theater size and existing equipment. The number and style of reflectors that a theater chooses to purchase also will affect the overall cost. The basic cost of the LED datawall is estimated at approximately $4,000 for conventional theaters and $8,000 for large specialty theaters (IMAX®). The cost per reflector is approximately $80; theaters that have installed the system have initially purchased 12 reflectors at $50 apiece. The DTS 6D player, which many theaters already have available, costs $6,000 if purchased separately. Installation costs depend on the theater’s maintenance arrangements; arrangements for installation can be made with the equipment supplier.

    Will installation require any alteration to existing facilities? If so, what types of alterations need to be made?

    In order to provide Rear Window captions, the facility will need to acquire and mount a light-emitting diode (LED) display mechanism to the wall in the rear of the theater. Mounting hardware is required, which is able to support a 30- to 50-pound datawall, that is 3- to 5-feet-long and 1.5- to 2-feet-high. The LED display requires standard electrical service and a data signal fed to it from the projection booth. The reflectors may be mounted to theater seats via existing or added drink holders. Theaters without drink holders can purchase reflectors fitted with a clamp or mounted on freestanding microphone stands. Some theaters have fitted seats with a mounting bracket that enables the bottom of the gooseneck arm to be fitted directly into an area between each seat.

    Will additional electrical service be needed to accommodate Rear Window?

    The LED display requires a standard electrical outlet.

    How many equipped seats or equipment attachments need to be available?

    It is recommended that theaters purchase a number of reflectors equal to approximately 4% of a theater’s seating capacity.

    Are special seats necessary?

    The installation of special theater seats is not required for use of Rear Window captions. The seat-mounted reflectors can be fitted to standard theater seats using the drink holder or armrest, while freestanding reflectors can be used in theaters without drink holders.

    Are both fixed and portable reflectors available to accommodate different types of seating? Or is there a standard design that works with any kind of seat?

    The reflectors are presently available in three styles. The portable, seat-mounted model consists of a movable, acrylic screen on an adjustable gooseneck arm that can be fitted to any theater seat that has a built-in drink holder. The clamp model can be used to attach the gooseneck to the armrest of seats without drink holders. The freestanding device is mounted on a floor stand (similar to a microphone stand), which can be placed adjacent to any type of theater seat, but is most effective when used on a level floor. To accommodate patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and use wheelchairs, theaters may opt to order several clamp or freestanding reflectors.

    Are the reflectors easy to use, attach and adjust?

    The screens are portable and simple to use; the seat-mounted reflector is easily mounted in the drink holder or on the seat arm, while the freestanding reflector is placed beside the viewer’s seat. In any case, the gooseneck arm and tilting acrylic panel can be adjusted until the captions are visible and comfortable to watch. Test captions are generally made available before the film begins to enable Rear Window users to adjust their reflectors. Depending on the user’s preference, captions can be positioned over or just below the movie screen. Some users have reported that reflectors work best when positioned low and further away from the body, allowing the user to move in the seat with only minimal reflector adjustments.

    Are the reflectors adjustable for both child and adult users?

    The reflective screens can be adjusted for use by both children and adults. There is no height restriction, though children or very short adults may require assistance in bending the reflector arm into place.

    Do users need to sit in certain seats in order to use the Rear Window?

    The Rear Window system is designed so that the captions are visible from any seat in the theater. However, depending on the size and layout of the theater and the location of the caption display, some seats may offer better viewing angles than others may. Seats in the middle of the theater generally offer the best view of Rear Window captions. Some LED displays have been mounted above an auditorium’s balcony, thereby making the seats directly underneath the balcony unusable with a reflector.

    Can another patron’s head block the user’s view of the captions?

    Because the captions are displayed in the rear of the theater, someone sitting in front of the user cannot block them. The LED display can be hung high enough so that the heads of tall people behind the user will not block the view of the captions. However, if someone behind the user stands up, they may temporarily block the captions — just as someone who stands up in front of a viewer may temporarily block the picture.

    Can the reflectors block the view of, or be distracting to, other patrons?

    As the clear acrylic reflector is adjusted for use by individual patrons, and only those patrons can see the reflection, the use of the Rear Window system will not affect other patrons’ views of the movie screen in any way.

    Do the reflectors block the user’s view of the screen in any way?

    Since the reflector is made of clear acrylic, the user can see through the reflective panel to the screen, or can adjust the reflector so the captions appear below the screen. If the reflector is not adjusted properly, a user’s head may block his or her own view of the captions. In this case, the user will need to move the reflector slightly to one side or tilt the plastic panel until their view is complete.

    How do users know when Rear Window is available in a theater?

    Theaters that have made the Rear Window Captioning system available to their patrons have publicized the service to build awareness in their community. Publicity generally includes posting appropriate signage at ticket booths, including information in theater advertising. When the service is offered initially, theaters often publicize the system’s availability via announcements to local newspapers and to local organizations and schools that serve deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

    Is there an additional cost to moviegoers to use Rear Window?

    Moviegoers who request use of the Rear Window Captioning equipment pay the regular adult, child or senior ticket prices, with no additional costs.

    SOURCE: Caption THIS! (via DRA)

    If you read all that, well done! But seriously, this made me a little curious as to how many technical options cinemas in the USA might be using to provide the service and found a great write-up here.

    Which option would you prefer if you had the choice?

    On a related note, in the summer earlier this year the US Department of Justice gave an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) which outlines several proposals it is considering that will have an impact on the amount of captioned/subtitled cinema (and also audio description) in the USA. Amongst the questions is the best technology to deliver the service:

    The Department is considering proposing that 50% of movie screens would offer captioning and video description 5 years after the effective date of the regulation. The Department originally requested guidance on any such figure in its 2008 NPRM. Individuals with disabilities, advocacy groups who represented individuals with disabilities, and eleven State Attorneys General advocated that the Department should require captioning and video description 100% of the time. Representatives from the movie industry did not want any regulation regarding captioning or video description. A representative of a non-profit organization recommended that the Department adopt a requirement that 50% of movies being exhibited be available with captioning and video description. The Department seeks further comment on this issue and is asking several questions regarding how such a requirement should be framed.

    For all the comments being requested read section IV.

    Interesting times ahead. I shall look forward to updates on this. I am hopeful for a positive outcome for all who require or need captioning to enjoy the cinema. As a big cinema goer I can’t think of anything more depressing than the inability to access the latest movie releases just because of a lack of captions or subtitles.  Be sure to check out the links on this blog on the right –> under Cinema for information on captioned/subtitled cinema in the UK, USA, and Australia. If you know of any other links please comment so I can add it.  Thanks.

  • iheartsubtitles 1:31 pm on November 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Movies,   

    In memory of Leslie Nielsen 

    I had been planning to post this another time for more ‘subtitles for the LOL!’ But with the passing away of Leslie Nielsen it seems right to post it now. One of the first movies I ever saw to use subtitles in a humorous context was Airplane!

    Airplane Jive Talk

    Airplane - Jive Talk script

    Amongst countless gags was the open subtitling of Jive talk in the movie between two passengers on the plane. You can watch the clip below:

    As for Leslie Nielsen himself, he had hearing loss from a young age and I think I subconsciously picked this up as interesting fact somehow since I grew up not knowing anyone else like me with a hearing loss. Whilst Nielsen’s brilliant straight delivery of lines gave me much laughter in films such as the above, I also adored the visual gags – none more so than in Police Squad. This epilogues in which the actors would fake a freeze frame by standing as still as possible, often with something else moving will never fail to make me laugh. This clip requires no subtitles:

    Thanks Leslie!  (And for the record Police Squad is available on DVD Region 2 with subtitles. I have it, and highly recommend it)

    • Penny Sherwood 2:14 pm on November 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      A wonderful post….I remember this too…amazing and how far we have come….Now to press forward for better communication.


  • iheartsubtitles 10:04 am on March 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Movies   

    Tarantino’s – Inglorious Basterds 

    Last year I went to see Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds at the cinema. I loved the use of subtitles and language to create humour and sometimes tension – the problem is in trying to explain this to someone else as what I see as one example of subtitles being used in a creative way. Thankfully Beloved Beasts an English major at Princeton has written about this in a far better way than I could attempt to explain. If you have not seen the movie – you should know that the movie audio dialogue switches from German to French and to English:

    As subtitles comprise a major stylistic and plot device of Inglourious Basterds, we see that Tarantino was playing on the historical emergence of dubbed and subtitled cinema during that time. French moviegoers consumed films that had a fundamental disjuncture between the image and sound. The moving lips of the actors did not directly map onto the superimposed sound of the film. Tarantino’s subtitles similarly create such a separation between the image and the sound. The subtitled film shifts the emphasis of the scene, imprinting the spoken words onto the screen as a component of the image.

    To explain further:

    Some of the humor of Inglourious Basterd derives from the untranslated subtitles, where the sounds of the words signal a play upon words. Instead of translating the French “oui” into the English “yes,” Tarantino places this untranslated French word into the space of the yellow English subtitles, signaling a point of entrance into a seemingly indecipherable tongue. This moment is humorous because it calls attention to our process of reading, rendering us feel foolish for our dependence on the subtitles as the mediator between the characters and ourselves.

    Read more analysis HERE and HERE.

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